Editor's Note | Vol. 19 | Issue 2
The past few months have felt like a whirlwind. On the heels of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) this March and the push for justice during the National Week of Action for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW), we can feel the groundswell beneath our feet.
Take a moment to ground yourself in that feeling. That strength. That courage. It’s there for you even if we don’t ‘see’ it all the time. That strength is a well, offering us hope in those dark moments when we need it most.
As we all know, it can be hard to ignore those dark moments, which seem to be relentless, coming in wave after wave. The attack on women’s body sovereignty with a potential Roe overturn. The recent mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, where ten Black people were killed at a grocery store, followed by the 19 children and two teachers killed in the mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Russia’s war in Ukraine…and the list goes on. More violence. More suffering. More pain.
Now, come back––remember that strength from before.
The strength of all the women in your family, your friends, your networks. We are right here, being strong with you and for you, alongside you. That strength… is sacred. It’s the reason we do this work, why we are here: the women.
NIWRC’s Executive Director, Lucy R. Simpson (Diné), once said, “If we can come back to a place where women are sacred, that gives us the foundation for building everything else up.”
“If we can come back to a place where women are sacred, that gives us the foundation for building everything else up.”
–Lucy R. Simpson, NIWRC Executive Director
Come back to this place of strength. Be strong for yourself, your family, and the ones that are still to come. We are here for the women.
Each of us are part of the movement to build everything back up. As we look at what’s coming down the path, we must remember to lean into this strength, because we cannot do this work alone. While we lift the progress made with VAWA reauthorization and steps made to name members of the Not Invisible Act Commission, we cannot let up on calling for justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women. We cannot let up until everyone in our communities is safe once again.
"Together, we are a movement. We represent the hope that our grandmothers held for us.
––Mallory Adamski, Editor of Restoration
Looking ahead, we cannot lose sight in calling for movement on Savanna’s Act. Savanna’s Act is named after Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind (Spirit Lake Nation of North Dakota), who was 22-years old when she was murdered while she was eight months pregnant in 2017. Under Savanna’s Act, federal authorities are required to analyze federal data related to missing and murdered Indigenous women to improve responses to this crisis. Yet, while there has been some movement by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to analyze federal databases on missing and murdered cases and provide more detailed statistics, a plan to continue this work has yet to be released. So, what’s next?
As a groundswell, we must continue the push to make MMIW visible, for this issue is not a single dark moment but a long-standing crisis impacting everyone’s safety, young and old. If the women are not safe, who is? The DOJ, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Police must be held accountable to their obligations to Indigenous women.
We must keep the pressure on federal authorities to improve data collection around MMIW and public safety for our families and the ones that are still to come. Not one more stolen sister. Not. One.
Come back to this place of strength. We are here for the women.
Make no mistake, there are going to be more dark moments, and each generation of advocates will tell you about the challenges they faced along the way. It is in these moments that you must remember you are not alone. The voices coming through the pages across this magazine are proof you are not alone. There is strength in our united voices. There is strength in solidarity. There is strength in humility that we can lean on each other for support and learn from each other–that not one single person has all the answers, but together, we can carve a path forward that represents us all and lifts us all as women.
There are going to be moments that test us, push us in different directions, force us to question why we do the work–but we must keep trying. Remember, the sun will rise again tomorrow. Hold onto our collective strength. Together, we are a movement. We represent the hope that our grandmothers held for us.
Keep building. Step into your strength. You are not alone. Come back to strength.